Adele returns to warm reviews for new album 25 launched on Friday

Adele performs Skyfall at the 85th Academy Awards in this file photo from Feb 24, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

Adele's highly anticipated album, 25, launched on Friday (Nov 20) with early reviews praising her comeback effort after a four-year absence, although some bemoaned its similarities to her previous record-smashing album, 21.

Music review Neil McCormick of The Telegraph gave it five stars, writing: "25 is crammed top to bottom with perfectly formed songs - elegantly flowing melodies, direct and truthful lyrics and richly textured production - all sung as if her life depends on it."

While the New York Times said that the songs ranged from "phenomenal to tepid", it also wrote that "her music is like time-lapse photography of a busy street: Small parts move, but the structure of the whole picture remains essentially intact".

In The Guardian, Alexis Petridis said: "For the most part, 25 sticks close to the formula of the best-known tracks on its predecessor, 21: big, piano-led ballads, decorated with strings and brass, dealing with heartbreak."

However, opinions were mixed as to whether the album, on which the singer has a writing credit on every song, surpasses the monster hit 21.

The Chicago Sun-Times called it "simply marvellous", while The Verge said: "25 is good enough to sate the thirst of the masses, and it pushes Adele's music forward on both sonic and personal fronts."

The Verge's Jamieson Cox also compared Adele's voice on All I Ask to Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion, and most reviewers had nothing but praise for her vocal prowess.

Entertainment Weekly's reviewer Leah Greenblatt summed it up: "Her voice is a national monument, a ninth wonder; whatever she chooses to wrap it around is transformed and taken over. If that's not the definition of a once-in-a-generation talent, what is?"

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